The elderly should be vaccinated in Phase 1, says former Stampin MP

Julian Tan is a volunteer at the Phase 3 of vaccine clinical trial.

By S. Harrish

THE Government has been told to be more transparent with the Covid-19 vaccine rollout that starts on Feb 26.

Former Stampin MP Julian Tan said the public should have easy access to the program’s details, especially on the first phase.

He said this will gain public trust and confidence in the program and ensure proper direct communication with the public to curb any unwanted confusion and speculation.

Having an official, easy-to-access ‘go to place’ is also crucial to curb any fake news that may derail public confidence in the vaccine program.

Under the first phase, some 500,000 frontliners will be vaccinated while the second phase starting April, targets high-risk groups such as the elderly and those suffering from chronic health conditions.

Tan, who is also special assistant to Sarawak DAP chief Chong Chieng Jen, said transparency will ensure the smooth running of the program and it will receive valuable feedback.

He also urged the government to include the elderly in nursing homes in the first phase as it was proven globally, they were the most vulnerable group.

In Canada, for example, it is recorded that 80% of all Covid-19 related deaths occurred at elderly care centres.

Similarly, for the United States and the United Kingdom, the figure stands between 30% and 40%.

He also cited the recent case in Sibu where all 31 elderly residents involving two nursing homes were found infected and a 73-year-old man died due to Covid-19.

Tan said an estimated 40,000 Malaysians above the age of 65 stayed in care centres or nursing homes together with another 8,000 care workers.

He added that in Malaysia, there were an estimated 1,500 elderly care homes, out of which only 350 were registered.